President Joe Biden praises Simone Biles, Team USA as Tokyo Olympics close
8th August 2021

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden spoke with Team USA on a Zoom call on Saturday night, just hours before the Tokyo Olympics are set to close.

The Bidens praised the Olympians for competing in the Games and doing so during the COVID-19 pandemic, something that he said made Americans’ “hearts swell.”

“You handled yourself with such grace and such decency,” Biden told Team USA, via The Associated Press. “You made me so damn proud.”

Biden praises Simone Biles for mental health decision

Biden talked to gymnastics star Simone Biles directly on the call, too, and praised her for stepping back from multiple events in Tokyo to focus on her mental health.

Biles withdrew from the team competition in Tokyo after a single rotation, citing a lack of “air awareness” or “the twisties” after an awkward landing. She then withdrew from the all-around, vault, floor and uneven bars.

The 24-year-old returned for the balance beam to close out the games, and won a bronze medal.

“You had the courage to say, ‘I need some help,’” Biden told her, via The Associateed Press. “And you gave an example to everybody. And guess what, by the way, you got back up on that damned beam.”

Biden impressed with Jewett’s sportsmanship

Biden also talked to sprinter Isaiah Jewett, who was part of perhaps the best sportsmanship moment of the Tokyo Olympics earlier this month.

Jewett was in third in a qualifying heat of the men’s 800-meter semifinal when he and Botswana’s Nigel Amos collapsed to the ground after colliding. The two stayed down as the rest of the field pushed forward and finished the race.

Eventually, Jewett stood up and helped Amos up. The two then walked to the finish line and ended the race together.

“America when it leads the world leads not by the example of our power but by the power of our example,” Biden said, via The Associated Press. “That’s the God’s truth. And you are an epitome of that, and we thank you for it.”

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